In response to the rapid transmission of the new variant of coronavirus within the UK, many countries in Europe and beyond have imposed significant travel restrictions on UK citizens and freight.
Significantly, both Port of Dover and Eurotunnel have suspended all passenger and freight services for a 48-hour period starting from 22:00hrs last night. As Dover-Calais is the most significant and fastest routing for express services between the UK and continental Europe, most dedicated vehicle services originating or terminating in the United Kingdom will not be possible at this time, and some delays to courier and road freight services are inevitable. Importantly, due to a massive backlog of freight and passenger vehicles, it is expected to take several days (if not weeks) after the lifting of restrictions for services to get back to normal.
In addition to France closing its borders with the UK, the following restrictions have been imposed within the last 24 hours:
The Netherlands has banned flights with passengers from the UK until 1 January
- Belgium has banned flights and rail travel from the UK for 24 hours with more clarity expected on Tuesday
- Italy has banned air passengers from Britain until 6 January and also anyone who has transited through the UK in the previous 14 days – residents of Italy will still be able to depart Britain to return home
- Austria has banned flights from the UK but the duration of the measure is not clear
- Germany is banning flights from the UK for an unspecified duration
- Spain will cut flights if there is no joint EU response to the threat posed by the new virus strain
- Portugal says only Portuguese people and residents of the country can arrive from the UK. Everyone must show proof of a negative COVID test, which can be accessed at airports
- Bulgaria is suspending flights from the UK until 31 January
- France will bar entry for 48 hours (from Sunday night) to those coming from the UK (and accompanied freight) by road, air, sea or rail
- Sweden is preparing to ban entry from the UK but the details are not yet clear
- Turkey is suspending flights from the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands, with the last two countries among those where the new strain has also been found
- Canada is banning flights from the UK for 72 hours
- Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for travellers for a week
- Israel has banned entry to all non-Israelis flying from the UK, including those who transited through the UK
- El Salvador has banned travellers who have been in the UK within the previous 30 days, including transit passengers
- Ireland has banned flights and ferries from the UK for 48 hours
- The Czech Republic says arrivals who have spent at least 24 hours in UK territory will need to isolate
- Colombia, Morocco, Chile, Finland, and Argentina have also banned travellers from the UK
The situation is obviously very fluid, and further restrictions and changes to the above are expected to follow. We will endeavour to keep you fully informed throughout.
Although in most cases these restrictions apply to passenger travel, we anticipate significant and widespread flight cancellations over the coming days, which will inevitably have an effect on courier and freight services.
We are, as always, ready and waiting to assist our customers in finding solutions for urgent shipments and to offer advice and guidance on alternative routings and services wherever possible.
General Manager UCS